Confidentiality is the foundation of the law office/client relationship, since lawyers can only provide effective representation when there is full and open communication. When clients visit a law office, it’s of utmost importance that they feel secure that all information they provide to lawyers and any legal staff will be held secret and confidential, no matter what the nature of their case may be.
If you’re planning to pursue a career as a legal office administrator, you’ll be playing an important role in maintaining confidentiality in the workplace no matter which type of law office you choose to work in. Read on to find out how you can do your part to help protect client information, so they can continue to get the confidential legal representation they need.
Greeting Clients Professionally Once You Become a Legal Office Administrator
Many graduates with legal training go on to work at the front desks of law firms during their legal office administrator careers. Because they are the first person clients see when they enter the law office, it’s important for these professionals to greet clients kindly and professionally.
When greeting clients, maintaining confidentiality is important. You’ll want to remain friendly, but never ask about or discuss details of a client’s case. The details of their visits are between them and their lawyer, so you’ll never want to say things like “I assume you’re here to discuss ____?” as this could serve as a breach of trust in the attorney/client relationship.
Creating and Filing Documents with Confidentiality After Legal Office Administration Courses
Once you become a legal office administrator, you’ll help lawyers by creating and filing important documents that pertain to different cases. Since legal documents contain sensitive information, it’s important that they be handled with care.
When working with legal documents, your task management skills will play a key role in maintaining client confidentiality. Make sure that when you type up, print, and file away a document, that you complete each task before moving on to your next responsibility. By remaining focused, you’ll reduce the risk of forgetting a document in the photocopier where anyone can walk by and grab it, accidentally sending emails to the wrong recipients, or filing documents in the wrong folders or cabinets.
Share Files Securely Once you Become a Legal Office Administrator
Computers have transformed the way files are created, stored, and shared in the legal office environment. Some law offices have even gotten rid of filing cabinets and switched to computers or data storage services instead. If you work for a practice that stores data electronically, you’ll want to make sure that these documents are properly protected. Not only do these documents contain important case information, but they also contain important client information such as their addresses and social security numbers—which you wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands.
Many law offices use computers instead of paper filing systems
In order to help keep these files safe, you’ll want to first make sure that your office internet connection is protected with a firewall to help block out anyone who’s unauthorized from gaining access. If your office uses a remote storage service, make sure that it’s a reliable source, and that everything that gets uploaded is password protected.
Legal office administrators are typically responsible for providing support for both lawyers and clients in a law office. Professionals in this career are usually tasked with helping attorneys and paralegals with various tasks including; client communication, schedule management, and appointment and meeting coordination. What some people might not realize is just how essential legal administrators are to running a seamless law office.
Students pursuing careers in legal office administration will learn about some of the best practices for successfully running an organized and systematic law office. Read on if you’re interested in understanding how professional legal administrators develop standardized office procedures which enhance customer service and generate profit for law practices.
A Legal Office Administrator’s Guide to Docket Management
Individuals pursuing legal office administration training know that docket management refers to the process of tracking, recording and organizing deadlines for clients and client affairs. Legal professionals understand that in order for administrators to effectively manage a docket, they must have a general understanding of court rules, legal tasks, as well as knowledge of the schedules of everyone associated with the docket.
Legal office administrator college graduates recognize the importance of having a secure and reliable docket management system, since lawyers can actually lose client cases and be served with malpractice claims as a result of a forgotten due date or court hearing. Certified administrators typically use docket management computer programs and mobile applications to keep track of deadlines and other office procedures. Some of the most common programs used include Logikcull, HoudiniESQ and AbacusLaw.
How Legal Administrators Perform Efficient Billing
Everyone knows that for a business to thrive and turn a profit, it must have an effective billing management system, including law practices. Individuals enrolled in legal office administration courses know that billing management is a responsibility that today’s administrators generally handle.
Fortunately, there are tons of great billing programs that allow administrators and lawyers to easily track the time that is spent on each client’s file. Programs like PCLaw, for example, offer administrators access to great tools that can help them manage a wide range of financial tasks including expenses, client billing and collection, vendor payments and client accounts.
Managing New Clients as a Legal Office Administrator
It is crucial for a legal office administrator to develop a thorough system for managing new clients. This is mainly because lawyers should always have access to essential details about their clients before and while their law firm is representing them. This way, it is easier for the firm to check for client conflicts as well as manage documents. Administrators normally develop a standard process for which they collect information about clients and their specific cases—this information can be collected through an interview, or perhaps a questionnaire. And of course, professional legal office administrators recommend storing this data into client management software so that it is easily attainable when needed.